A short post about how I hate the American healthcare system.

I went to a doctor today.  That cold I had apparently festered while I thought I was feeling better and came zinging back to me on Sunday night as a sinus infection.

The visit to the doctor cost $6.  The medicine he prescribed cost $7.  I didn't even use my Korean insurance.  Granted, the pills come dressed in condom wrappers and they are totally unidentifiable.  But since my voice completely left my body a few hours ago and I currently sound like a goose honkin' around in heat when I try to speak, I'll take anything.


$14 overall without using insurance.  What would that cost in the US without insurance?  Or even with insurance?  I'm still paying off a few thousand to my US insurance just for the deductible from my surgery in November (which itself only cost a few hundred dollars).

What up, 'Merica?


Morning routine

I wake up.  Attempt to keep in touch and make contact with home.  Usually don't (turns out I'm a terrible Skype'r).  Drink my green tea and eat breakfast.  Breakfast is usually fruit.

Here's what about that:

My kitchen sink doesn't have a disposal, so old fruit leftovers and other stuff can't just get washed away.  It has to go in the trash can.  But that stinks.  Smells real bad.  And it took me a while to realize this.  My apartment gets reeeeeeal hot when I'm gone.  It's for-real-like-very-badly-stuffy every night when I get home.  And smelly.  And I totally did not make the 'food in the trash can/smells like ass' connection for like, three weeks.  So my solution for the past two weeks since the 'food in the trash can/smells like ass' enlightenment has been to...throw it out the window.
Is that wrong?

Ulsan smells bad enough in most places, so I just feel like my apartment should be spared.  I mean.  There's a perfectly good pile of trash outside my window.  It's across the street, really, so it's more that I'm lobbing food out the window across the street.

There's also a not so itsy-bitsy spider friend who lives in between the window and the screen that I lob my fruit from.  He looks ferocious and I strongly dislike him.  But I'm keeping him because I hear he'll eat the mutant roaches that are rumored to appear after rainy season.

He moves fast and I'm terrified to take my eyes off of him when I'm at the window.  You can imagine how this affects my fruit lobbing skills.  I heard a big thunk the other day after I chunked my apple core; I'm not sure what I hit, but I didn't lose sight of the spider, and this is the second main goal each morning, aside from preventing 'food in the trash can/smells like ass'.

It should also be noted that when I dodge spiders with the impressive agility that I have recently developed, an uncontrollable sound comes out of my mouth.  Something resembling terror and triumph combined.  Like Sloth from the Goonies yelling about his Baby Ruth.

And since it's morning and I'm getting ready for the day, I'm usually only half dressed.

So.  Every morning when I wake up in Korea, I find myself  half dressed at the window, balancing a cup of hot green tea, lobbing fruit across the street while dodging a spider and sounding like a person with a speech impediment on drugs.

Here's what else.  Korea has a surveillance system all over everywhere called CCTV.  The camera on the building next to mine is aimed directly at my window.

This routine is caught on tape every morning.


A cold, cats, and the incredible panda hat

Last Thursday, I walked into my upper level 6th grader's class and they had the lights off.  As soon as I entered, I heard them whispering "ca-ca-ca-ca-ca," "ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch." with a slow fade ala 70's horror films.  Followed by a deep, raspy "Good evening, Clarice."

And this is why I love teaching the older kids.

The little ones are great, too, I supposey.  I just personally have a hard time teaching and only getting clueless little bobble-headed blank stares in return.  They give instant love, though.  My upper level 1st graders drew me a trophy on the board the other day titled "Kate's the Best Teacher Award!"  That won points, obviously.  I like being liked, and I have one little Suzy Q who just sits and gazes at me with her head in her hands and stars in her eyes.  I remember loving my teachers at that age, too.  It's nice and all.  But if I had to choose, I'd definitely pick with the 4th-6th graders over the littles. They are so clever and witty.  I mean.  "ca-ca-ca-ca-ca."  Come on.  That's hilarious.

In other news: I'm sick.  I totally blame the littles.  My 4th-6th graders are faaaaaar too awesome to ever be such germ culprits.   This cold wins a giant poop sandwich because I've totally mastered the art of fighting off colds over the years.  My efforts were futile this time.  Pounding green tea, vitamin C, and OJ < Korean germs.  I've given into the Dayquil/Nyquil routine.   I'm usually very anti-medicine, so I have no tolerance to the side effects of such remedies.  Therefore,  I'm. totally. high.

Last weekend, before I got sick, I went zip-lining in Daegu.  Two things about Daegu:  1)  It's hotter than Hell.  It's hotter than Hades and 2)  It's seriously hotter than Hell.  It's hotter than Hades.  Zip lining was sweaty, fun and slightly absurd.   In addition to regular zip lines, the ropes course had weird obstacles like riding a bike on lines across a suspended bridge, and snow boarding across suspended lines...Apparently, I have a lot to learn about momentum, as I stalled in the middle of both:


Is that picture actually legitimately funny or am I being influenced by the Dayquil?  The bike was exactly as awkward as it looks.  Durpity durr.  Which was kind of a general theme throughout the park.  This place was called Herb Hillz (for real with the 'z') and was completely Willy Wonka-esque.  Sadly, I'm a terrible photographer and didn't capture all that that entails. It's easy to picture a horror movie being filmed there with all of the creepy life-sized, gnome-y wooden characters coming to life, their eyes lighting up and glowing evil-red singing "It's a Small World" ominously out of tune...

Also, I found a cat cafe in Ulsan last week.  Cats!  Galore!  Like, just laying around everywhere.  And, just my luck, even a DOG!  We paid $6 to get a delicious bevvy of choice (I cannot stop with the green tea lattes), a giant pancake, and as much fur and purr as our hearts desired.  You know I'm seriously craving some animal companionship when I am all about cats.  The dog was my bestie, of course, and I just loved the concept of this place.  Rescued cats lounging, playing, and generally being awesome.

That panda hat I'm wearing?  It's even more incredible in person.  My sugar-mama-coworker fronted me the $12 in order to be the proud owner of such amazing-ness.  Up until last week, I hadn't yet received my alien card in order to set up a Korean bank account.  And for whatever reason, the ATM's kept eating my foreign credit and debit cards. So I had no access to my money and was cashless for a few days, fully relying on my sugar mama for cab/bus fares and other general daily living necessities.  The incredible panda hat obviously falls into this category. A new friend said it best the other night, and I couldn't agree more: "Going into debt for a panda hat is awesome."

panda debt

Aaaaand, I almost forgot about the 4th.  That was the day the Korean germs began invading my body.  It's been a long week since then.  We ate pizza and did sparklers on our roof.  Very low key.  Very American.  We did lots of these writey-outey things (stolen from The Sparkler Photog's Facebook album <sidenote:  The Sparkler Photog is from Dallas, too.  How have I met three people from Dallas in Korea in one month?>):

I had a good one spelling out 'K8' and 'dogs,' but some wise guy kept drawing supersized male genitalia next to me.  I don't understand why The Sparkler Photog didn't post those to his Facebook album.